On my third and final day at Hathaway Brown, the students continued to amaze me. Immediately to the left when you walk into Mrs. Pietrafese’s classroom, there is an arts and crafts station set up for the students to use. When I walked in on the third day, Mrs. Pietrafese and her helper set out on the table stamps of each letter of the alphabet and an ink pad that the students were more than welcome to use. One of the students, Thomas, invited me to sit down with him as he used the stamps. Thomas shared with me that he wanted to make a person out of the letters. Thomas used the letter O for the head and body, the letter I for the arms and legs, and the letter E for the eyes. I was not sure how the E fit into the picture, but I did not stop him from using the E. Witnessing Thomas discover that if he puts those three letters together in a configuration that a person would form was a profound experience for me. It blew my mind that this little five year old was capable of that type of deductive knowledge.
That same morning, Reed’s mom brought in homemade Play-Doh for the class to use; Reed is one of the girls in Mrs. Pietrafese’s class. On a separate table in the arts and crafts station, Mrs. Pietrafese put the three colors of Play-Doh on the table for the children to play with. Multiple students asked Mrs. Pietrafese where the rolling pins were. In response, Mrs. Pietrafese told her students that there are no rolling pins and just to use their hands. I really liked how Mrs. Pietrafese encouraged her students to create whatever they wanted to on their own, versus using a rolling pin or some kind of other device. I feel like it really challenged the students to use their imaginations.
Located at the arts and crafts station was a single-hole puncher. One of the students, Kavya, using the single-hole puncher approached me and asked if I would help her. Assuming Kavya realized that she was not physically strong enough to use the single-hole puncher, I proceeded to punch holes out of this magenta paper for her. I stopped only after punching a few holes, but Kavya asked if I could keep going. Kavya shared with me that the holes I was punching out for her was going to be the snow in the picture she was creating. After that, I noticed her beginning to glue the tiny circles on her picture. Kavya now had magenta “snowflakes” glued on her picture. I thought how great it was that Kavya did not care what the color of her snowflakes were, and I also thought how great it was that Kavya realized that the circles produced by the single-hole puncher could be used as snow. Again, the imaginations on these children blew my mind.
Overall, I really enjoyed the three days I spent at Hathaway Brown. I was surprised at how quickly I learned all fourteen names of the students, and I realized that I could see myself doing this every day as a career. One question I wish I asked Mrs. Pietrafese is how she goes from being around four and five year olds all day to going home and being with her children. In reality, the only time it seems like she can relax is at night when she would be asleep; she is just constantly surrounded by and interacting with children. I guess I’m also wondering then if it gets to be too much to handle. Considering I would like to be married and have children one day, this is something I have to think about as I embark on this journey of becoming a teacher.